18-20 Rendezvous Street,
Folkestone, Kent CT20 1EY
Tel : 01303 227356
Fax : 01303 227357 „
We wend to the oriental buffet in Folkestone because we were sick of the food in the hotel we were staying in. There was a lot of choice and the food was split up into starters, mains and deserts so it was easy to find your way around. All the dishes were labelled so you know what you are getting which is very handy and all the mains and most of the starters were covered with metal lids so no bugs could get to the food which is normally my main concern with buffet style restaurants. The starter were varied and included prawn toast, chicken balls, crispy chicken, seaweed, chips, onion rings, spring rolls, pancakes samosas etc. The mains included an array of different rices and noodle dishes as well as sweet and sour chicken , chicken in black bean sauce, stir fired mushrooms, korma, tikka and madras and a great array of veg based dishes if you wanted something a little bit healthier. All the food was cooked beautifully and nothing was to greesy, all the meet was nice and moist. We were to full after the starters and mains so we did not have desert so I can not add anything about that. The staff were all very friendly and we were seated quickly and served our drinks quickly. When we paid the gentleman who took our payment was very friendly and chatty which was nice. Our bill come to less that £25 for food and a drink each so I was very happy with that and I would visit again. This review is also on my ciao account under shellyjaneo
I thought the place was overall very poor. The food was of a low standard - ingredients were missing, for example there was no hoi sin sauce, cucumber or spring onion to go with the duck pancakes. The atmosphere felt awkward - I'm no bigot, but the staff didn't seem to understand each other very well, let alone us. The restaurant had a fish & chip shop feel to it - plastic tables, paper napkins (of which we were allowed one each despite much of the food being held in one's fingers). There were no chopsticks. As far as the food was concerned: the chicken korma was anaemic, the spare ribs tasteless, the mussels like rubber, the singapore noodles a solid mass. I feel there was too much choice and too little quality. The plates were cold and wet There were plenty of prawn crackers on offer though - but prawn crackers are the only food I have EVER seen seagulls ignore - draw your own conclusions from that! Perhaps though the Oriental Buffet suits the area of town it is in - after all, there were a couple of greasy-haired, shell-suited, eyebrow pierced, sovereign ring wearers in there, together with their boyfriends, which supports this theory. Shame. We wasted our money and our evening out.
Back in the early 90s, I once turned up early for a wedding reception being held at a swanky hotel in Hertfordshire and spent half an hour talking to someone I thought was an overtly tanned but otherwise very proper and polite maitre d', while we waited outside for the other guests and the happy couple to arrive. A couple of hours later, a friend beckoned me over and asked if I realised who the guy was. I looked closer but although he seemed vaguely familiar, the name wasn't there. "It's Martin Chivers" my friend said: And indeed it was the ex-Saints, Spurs and England No 9. Ok, so anyone under 35 probably won't have a clue, but in scoring ability and attitude, he was the Michael Owen of the late 60s and early 70s. He'd done what many footballers used to do when their careers ended and gone into the hospitality business. Twas ever thus: If you had a short but intense career it didn't really provide you with much in the way of a future. Ex-footballers bought pubs, invariably with a view to drinking them dry and retired policemen started security firms and employed demobbed soldiers. Ah yes, soldiers. For the best part of 200 years the British Army has employed regiments of Gurkhas. Their reputation as formidable fighting men is legendary, as is their loyalty to the British crown even though they're not its subjects. What do we do with these wonderfully enigmatic people once their fighting days are over? How do we reward their unflinching loyalty and the bravery they've shown in the defence of someone else's realm? We ship 'em back to Nepal on one sixth of a regular soldier's pension and let them get on with it. Hurrah for the MOD!! Ashok Shreshtha didn't go back though. He stayed here and has decided to reward his previous employers (that's you and me, fellow taxpayer) by opening restaurants. He's rapidly approaching double figures and if they're all as decent as this on e then long may he continue. His mantra is value for money and customer satisfaction and where the Oriental Buffet in Folkestone, which I've visited twice in the last year, is concerned, this is certainly the case on both counts. As I live in Cheshire I'm not usually in the habit of driving 250 odd miles to visit a restaurant either but my parents only live a few miles away and it's become one of their favourites too and I always jump at the chance to go. No mean feat considering my folks are in late middle age now and although not too fussy about what they eat, where my dad's concerned at least, the value for money aspect would figure paramount! He makes sure he gets it, too. As is evident in the restaurant name, the food is served in a buffet style from modern hot tables. Such is the care taken over presentation and customer satisfaction, the trays of food are not left to dry out as in the average motorway service station, they are repeatedly refreshed; not just topped up either, they're removed and replaced. They have to be as there is precious little wastage such is the turnover. Even if you do get a dry bit, just put your plate down and go get another bit. Chances are your plate won't be there when you return to your table either as it would have been fetched away back to the kitchen by the ever eager waiting staff. The menu is extensive, featuring about 60 different meals from the far east. All your curry shop and Chinese favourites are there as well as Malay, Singaporean and Thai staples. There are the usual starters such as wan ton soup (sic; it wants your babies at any price), sesame prawn toast and little spring rolls. There are even fish fingers and chips for the children although this is the only concession made to their fragile little tummies. I don't understand the children's menu philosophy. Why do chain restaurants make parents' lives difficult by offering a children's menu? Why not just smaller portions of the adult stuff? We should be educating our children about taste and sensation rather than just giving in and accepting these almost bowdlerised versions of food served up so's not to offend. When I was a kid I couldn't wait to eat what the grown-ups were eating so why have things changed? I'm digressing; there are far too many items to list here but my personal favourites are the crispy prawn with breadcrumb and the crispy duck (yes, with the pancakes, cucumber and sauce). As for the main course, there are just too many. They are, by and large just as you would find them on the average takeaway menu but in my opinion, not quite as hot but then again, I haven't tried them all. I've had a damned good go, though. Careful of the chilly (sic) sauce; it will take your head off. Unassuming to look at but lethally hot. The plum (or "plump") sauce is gorgeous. The only let down is the desserts. It's just ice creams and gateaux, and then not much of a choice. No oriental desserts at all which is a shame. I think they work on the premise that you've stuffed yourself stupid on the other courses, why waste money and energy on providing authentic desserts when most of it will be binned. Drinks are the usual suspects and a couple of bottles of Gurkha Beer does the job admirably. Value is very much the watchword here and it's noticeable everywhere. That's not to confuse value with cheap though. The restaurant is situated in an Edwardian conservatory at the junction between Rendezvous and High Streets. That's in the high part of the town centre so you can work up an appetite when walking up from the harbour area. Car parking is limited as most of the area is largely pedestrianised although there are a few spaces right in front of the restaurant. These are patrolled too, which provides some decent spectator sport on a Sunday afternoon! There are several carparks within walking dista nce though and Shepway district council's website detailing all the local ones is at: http://www.shepway.gov.uk (The specific URL for the car parks is way too long and makes this page ridiculously wide; follow the link in the site to car parks and zoom in on the town centre area. The restaurant is at the west end of the Old High Street on that map). The decor is light and airy as you'd expect in a place with so much glass in it although there isn't much in the way of actual decoration which is a shame as a little bit of the oriental theme, especially the Gurkha one, could be carried on on the walls. There are two levels, a lower one with the servery and bar and a smaller one overlooking it; 150 seats in all. There are two price tiers: Monday to Saturday the lunch (12-5pm) menu is £5.90 per person and the dinner one (5-10.30) is only three quid more. Children under 10 pay considerably less. Sundays it's £7.50 all day. Not bad, considering as this really is for as much as you can eat. There are takeaway prices too: which vary from between £2 and £4 less than the main prices. But what makes this restaurant among my favourites? It's not particularly special as regards the menu and presentation is up to how you ladle the stuff onto your (bottomless) plate. No, it's just the whole package; the sum of each individual part. The atmosphere is good, it's always crowded but there's absolutely no pressure on you to hurry your food. There isn't even any subtle hurrying-on by hovering around watching your table, they let you eat at your own pace because they know that you'll be back if you've had a good time. You can book a table but you'll be advised to just turn up and take a chance unless you're a large party. Considering restaurants make their money on how many covers they can serve per day, this attitude is very refreshing indeed. The service is wonderful. The waiters all appear to b e ex-Gurkhas (there is a Gurkha regiment based at nearby Shorncliffe) and as the joke goes, you don't know you've been attacked by the Gurkhas until you nod your head. The same goes for their waiting skills; leave an empty plate for longer than a couple of minutes and it will miraculously disappear. I love this attitude, you concentrate on eating and your company knowing that you don't have to worry about anything else. How they manage it at the prices they charge is amazing: My parents and I had Sunday dinner there a few weeks back and with drinks and tip the bill only just crept over £30. The best advertising is word of mouth and happy customers. Judging by the fact that the restaurant is very nearly always full, it seems that Mr Shreshtha's attitude to his customers is paying handsome dividends. There is a jolly little website at http://www.orientalbuffet.co.uk which covers the Margate branch as well. A branch has also recently opened up in Aldershot. Get there and get stuffed! Footnote: As is the law, the menu displays the rider that some food may contain ingredients from GM soya beans or maize. Well, I'm not going to get into that argument but we're all genetic modifications to some extent and I certainly didn't have a say in that, either. As it is, I still have my gonads and my hair's the same colour as it was last week. Go for it.